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Clumber Spaniels: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Clumber Spaniel temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Clumber Spaniel dog breed

The mild-mannered, almost imperturbable Clumber Spaniel sometimes puts on aristocratic airs. Yet he also plays the clown, greeting people with two tennis balls stuffed into his mouth and his entire rear end wagging.

Adult Clumbers spend much of their time lying around and looking sleepy, but this massive dog needs regular exercise to stay fit.

Outdoors he comes alive and moves with great determination – he has been called "a great bustling creature."

Fetching and ball playing are good sources of exercise, but don't allow too much twisting or jumping, else he injure a disk in his unnaturally long back.

Most Clumber Spaniels are friendly with strangers and other animals. This is not a guard dog.

The Clumber Spaniel does have a mischievous streak, especially when young. But because of his easygoing approach to life, he is seldom a problem even when he doesn't obey very quickly.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is an unusual-looking spaniel – built long and low to the ground, and very, very heavy
  • Is somewhat phlegmatic indoors – a true couch potato
  • Comes alive outdoors and romps about with enthusiasm
  • Is polite with everyone

A Clumber Spaniel may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • A heavy dog who wants to sit on your feet, lie on your lap, and lean his weight against your leg
  • Providing sufficient exercise to keep his big body in shape
  • Stubbornness
  • Regular brushing and combing
  • Constant heavy shedding
  • Slobbering and drooling
  • Gassiness (flatulence)
  • Serious health problems and a short lifespan
  • Waiting lists (very hard to find)

A Clumber Spaniel may not be right for you.


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Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament  is less predictable than the inheritance of physical  traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.

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dog paw

More traits and characteristics of the Clumber Spaniel

If I was considering a Clumber Spaniel, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise. Clumber Spaniels are big solid dogs developed to trot through the fields all day, seeking game birds for the hunter to shoot. So it should go without saying that a daily walk around the block isn't enough exercise.

    Clumber Spaniels need daily outings in a good-sized enclosed area (yard or dog park) so they can romp about. Otherwise they will become bored, which dogs tend to express by becoming destructive. Clumber Spaniels are big-time chewers when bored!

  2. Stubbornness. Despite their easygoing nature, Clumber Spaniels are not pushovers to train. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say. Read more about teaching your Clumber Spaniel to respect you.
  3. Grooming. Their silky feathered coat develops mats without regular brushing and combing. Occasional trimming of their "bathroom parts" is also necessary for sanitary reasons.
  4. Heavy shedding. Clumber Spaniels shed a LOT. You'll find white hair all over your clothing and furnishings. Make sure you're okay with that.
  5. Slobbering. Clumber Spaniels slobber and drool, especially after eating or drinking. Slime hangs from their loose jowls and sprays around when they shake their head.
  6. Potential health problems. Clumber Spaniels suffer from a very high rate of hip dysplasia. Eye problems are also a concern in the breed. Read more about Clumber Spaniel Health.
  7. Finding one. Only a few hundred Clumber Spaniel puppies are born each year. You'll probably need to go on a waiting list and pay a very high price.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

My best-selling books – now available  FREE  on my website

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy is for puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know. Click here to read for free.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say. Click here to read for free.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life. Get my honest advice about all 11 Things before you bring home your new puppy, because some mistakes with early health care cannot be undone. Click here to read for free.

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